Chris Elmore MP calls out the UK Government for shortfall in funding for Wales in Levelling Up Fund
Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore, called for transparency from the UK Government on the Levelling Up Fund, today, as the £50 million to be allocated to Wales per year over the next four years presents a massive shortfall from the £375 million previously allocated in structural funding.
The Levelling Up Fund is a UK-wide £4.8 billion fund announced at the Spending Review, with a view to invest in local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities. The UK Government has come under fire, however, for the deeply flawed methodology used to select areas most in need of regenerating, ignoring the Government’s own Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) which takes into account income, levels of crime and health. As a result, local authorities which rank high on the IMD scale are being placed in a lower priority group than the Chancellor’s own local authority where houses are currently on sale for £2.5 million.
The UK Government will put MPs at the centre of the bidding process for the Levelling Up Fund, leading to fears of a conflict of interest as Conservative Ministers funnel money away from areas with higher levels of need towards their own constituencies. Labour has demanded the UK Government publish the metrics used to determine areas for priority funding. Bids will be determined by the UK Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government under a number of criteria.
Chris Elmore, MP for Ogmore, said:
“I support funding for every nation and region, but it is crucial that this funding is allocated in a transparent and fair way, with a say for local communities. The new Levelling Up Fund pits regions and nations against each other for money that should reach communities as a matter of course.
“The piecemeal pots of funding available under this Fund do not make up for the last decade of cuts to the Welsh Government and only goes to highlight this UK Government’s failure to bring prosperity to our nations.
“This Fund means £50 million per year will be allocated to Wales but compared to the £375 million previously received in structural funding, Wales is being hugely short-changed. The Prime Minister promised Wales would not receive a penny less, so the Government must clarify where the shortfall in funding will come from or break another promise to the people of Wales.”